As I talked about in ⇒ my last post ⇐ 2018 is going to be a crazy year for Whitney and me as we transition into semi-retirement. We plan to work the first half of the year, January-June, and then “slow travel” internationally the second half of the year, July-December. Our one-way ticket to Europe is booked, and we fly out on July 16th. In between finishing work and taking our trip, we plan to sell both our camper and our truck in order to minimize monthly expenses while we’re gone and to give us additional money to live on for those 6 months without having to withdraw from our investments. Financially, I believe that not only will I be able to survive while not working and being out of the country for 5-6 months, but that I’ll actually come back with a higher net worth than when I leave due to investment returns and income generated from this blog and other sources.
I have a rough outline of where we will be going and staying for the 5-6 months, but it is definitely subject to change as we continue to research about the areas. We have the first month planned and mostly set already. We will gradually book the rest of the trip a month at a time as we get our plans finalized. Here is the plan so far:
- 7/17-7/21: Edinburgh, Scotland
- 7/21-7/28: Dublin, Ireland
- 7/28-8/4: Agadir, Morocco
- 8/4-8/9: London, England
- 8/9-9/20: Chiang Mai, Thailand
- 9/20-10/4: Phuket, Thailand
- 10/4-10/11: Bangkok, Thailand
- 10/11-10/18: Siem Reap, Cambodia
- 10/18-11/2: Phnom Phen, Cambodia
- 11/2-11/9: Krong Kaeb, Cambodia
- 11/9-11/24: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- 11/24-12/1: Hanoi, Vietnam
- 12/1-12/15: Hai Phong, Vietnam
Typing all of that out gets me very excited. My first time out of the country was September of last year (a resort in Jamaica), so I’m far from a world traveler. This trip should be one of the coolest experiences of both of our lives. We are also considering visiting Myanmar while in northern Thailand and Laos while in northern Vietnam, both to see the countries and to make sure that we don’t overstay our Visas, but we haven’t got that all planned out yet. We are staying for 6 weeks in Chiang Mai because we’ve heard such great things about it and because we want to have some time during that part of the trip to rest, recharge, and work on the blog.
- In regard to our trip itinerary, we have chosen to spend the majority of this trip in Southeast Asia. A big motivator for this is the low cost of living and affordability of traveling there, in addition to the awesome things we have heard from other travelers. In the future, we plan to travel to other areas, but for this first trip since we’re not quite to financial independence, we thought this would be a good start.
- Most of our flights will be free with credit card reward points, but some of the shorter, less expensive ones we will pay for out of pocket.
- In Southeast Asia, most of our traveling between cities will be by bus which is extremely affordable there.
- Most of, if not all of, our housing will be through Airbnb. We know we could probably save some money by staying in hostels, which has been recommended to us by several other travelers who have taken similar trips. But we like the idea of having everything planned out ahead of time and being able to read reviews about where we will be staying, especially for our first major trip out of the country.
- We plan to do a lot of walking and sight seeing for free, like we have always done on our trips. We will take some excursions and paid tours, but we are going to do our best to keep expenses reasonable. I’m planning to budget between $1,000-$1,250/month for me while out of the country, and Whitney is budgeting a similar amount. As I said about Chiang Mai, some of our time there will be spent relaxing and enjoying “living” in the local area, which is the essence of “slow travel.” We don’t want to over-plan our trip and be exhausted from doing so many “touristy” things.
- We will both only be taking a big backpack and a small day pack with us instead of worrying about taking big suitcases on all of the flights. Not only will this save us money on the flights due to not checking bags, but we also won’t need to worry about lost luggage or hauling heavy bags since we will be traveling on so many different airlines, buses, trains, taxis, etc. This is certainly going to be a challenge for us packing-wise (especially Whitney), but we know that it’s going to make our trip so much easier. And, we can always buy some things while we’re there if needed.
- We plan to forego health insurance while out of the country and instead buy travel insurance for any major medical problems if they happen to arise.
Whitney and I are both very excited about this trip and can’t wait to go! As I said earlier, this is only a rough outline, so things will probably change as we research and talk to others that have taken similar trips.
If you have been to any of these countries and have recommendations of things to do or places to go, please comment below or send me an email! Thanks for reading!